If you live in a city it might feel like the great outdoors and whitewater rafting are worlds away, but lucky for you, the South Fork of the American River is nestled into the Sierra Nevada Mountains not far from you! This American river rafting adventure is mere hours away from all of California’s major cities: Los Angels, San Francisco, Sacramento. The road trip from each of these cities is gorgeous and can be just as fun as the destination itself! Here is your insider guide to the perfect South Fork of the American River rafting road trip!

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Rafting Near Sacramento

Hours: 1 hour

Recommended Stops:

If you are looking for some of the best Mexican food around, stop in Placerville at Taqueria El Carnival. It is just about midway between Sacramento and the South Fork river and offers one of the most extensive menus you will ever find along with an amazing chip and dip bar (including free avocado dip!). There is something for everyone at El Carnival!

After lunch, and before you hop on the water, make sure to stop at Henningson Lotus Park which is located in Lotus right on the banks of the South Fork river! This park has the best beaches in town and is dog-friendly, too! 

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Rafting Near San Francisco

Hours: 2 hours

Sacramento is located mid-way between San Fran and the river, so take a break and stretch your legs. Get some great pizza at the trendy Hot Italian pizza downtown, or explore a more worldly menu at the Tower Cafe. Either way, you will have a nice relaxing afternoon in the city!

Since you will be going through Sacramento anyways, make sure to make a stop at Sutter’s Fort which is an original fort from the gold rush days! They have docents, living history, and lots of opportunities to learn about our California roots. It’s an especially great stop for kids!

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Rafting Near Los Angeles

Hours: 7 hours

When road tripping up from Los Angeles, make sure to take the scenic route along the coast! This stretch of roadway is some of the most beautiful in the nation and is certainly worth the time! Along the way, visit attractions such as Hearst Castle, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, or Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you have the time, spend a night ins Santa Cruz and enjoy taking in the surfer lifestyle vibe of this California beach town!

No matter where you are coming from, an American river rafting adventure is always worth the drive! Come find us on the river!